Does Your BI Project Consider ‘Other Types of Data’?

August 18, 2011
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unstructured data and BI Projects 300x198 photo (agile business intelligence)

Author: Amanda Brandon
Spotfire Blogging Team

unstructured data and BI Projects 300x198 photo (agile business intelligence)

Author: Amanda Brandon
Spotfire Blogging Team

Wayne Kernochan (@wkernochan) wrote this week at Enterprise Apps Today that IT buyers need to “look at the ‘other’ category to determine which BI vendors are flexible enough to keep up with fast-changing data sources.”

In essence, he’s talking about the “other types of data” that affect Business Intelligence projects. The other data comes from the social landscape (Facebook, texting, Tweets and other social networks/devices) as well as maps, videos, bar codes and photographs. Much of the data originates on mobile devices such as a smartphones or tablets.

 We discussed this last week in a blog post on four steps to success with Big Data. In this article, the IDC voice of Big Data, aka Benjamin Woo (@benwoony), recommends collecting this “semi-structured data” to give your company a competitive advantage. It’s a natural move in light of the growing social business.

And according to Kernochan’s article, CEOs are seeing “insight and intelligence” as essential to company success in the next five years. Can we really afford to ignore the other types of data?

Not really. But with as many as 80 percent of BI projects failing, how do we encompass the “other types of data” and build a “data-driven decision process?”

Kernochan suggests that while the “agile BI” process is one route, the other types of data are throwing monkey wrenches into well-planned implementations.

“The Other Category of information, not handled by existing data warehouses, is now beginning to determine corporate customer relationships,” Kernochan writes.

He says that BI buyers need to add some criteria to their shopping lists that include BI solutions that:

  • Allow the company to respond faster to customer requests and anticipate customer changes, aka “agile BI.”
  • Handle the unstructured and semi-structured data with flexibility. Kernochan suggests that the vendors have integrations with “Web sources supplying this data.”
  • Handle the future of “other data.” Kernochan says, “There will always be an important ‘other’ category of information you will need to seek out, no matter how much of it you cover today.”

Kernochan does a nice job of marrying the business and IT demands for data, especially in his description of the “getting close to the customer,” strategy we’re seeing in more and more companies.

The takeaways of dealing with the “other data” include:

  • Agile BI allows your organization to “respond more quickly to new information from the customer,” regardless of the source.
  • Realizing that the “other data” will continue to change as “customer needs and wants change over time.”
  • The “business environment” is changing at an increasingly rapid pace, and organizations need to change their business practices along with it. Kernochan says that we need to select “BI solutions that will continue to handle Other Categories of the future” to meet this changing landscape.

Where does Other Data fit in your company?